Looking for Airplanes
After setting up the General purpose tents in Dong Ba Thin Captain Gerry Carson and I were told to fly around Vietnam and look for our airplanes. I was the Liaison officer in Stockton, California with the mission of receiving the incoming flights of Birddogs from Ft. Hood, Texas. The airplanes were taken apart and boxed up and sent to Vietnam. We did not know what port in Vietnam the airplanes would arrive at in Vietnam? The first destination was Vung Tau, Vietnam. No airplanes had arrived in Vung Tau, but it was toward the end of the day, so we elected to stay in the Officer’s barracks the first night. Of course, we decided to go to the Officer’s club that night. We were surprised to find out that Australian girls we stripping on the dance floor. Wow, if Vietnam was going to be like this, it would be a great year.
The next morning we found a 4:00 AM flight to Saigon. We did arrive at the airport before 4:00 AM and we found that we were the only cargo in the airplane. The airplane was a U.S. Army Caribou airplane. We taxied out toward the active runway and on the way, the Caribou stopped and the rear of the airplane opened up. We looked out the window and saw an old Cadillac hearse back up to the rear of the airplane. At that point, the rear door of the hearse opened and then they unloaded two black body bags with identification tags directly in front of us on the floor of the airplane. I reached down to read one of the identification tags and learned the name of the body in the bag was Lt., Someone? I can still see the look on Captain Gerry Carson face. I as to where the bodies came from and we were told that the bodies came from an artillery outpost and were killed the night before. They were on their way to Saigon to be prepared for shipment to JPAC in Honolulu for final preparation for shipment to their home towns for burial.